Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ballack as a makeshift winger

Against slower Fulham FC, it might have been stroke of Carlo's genius by using Germany's captain as a makeshift winger. I was a bit surprised to be honest. To me, he seems to drift to the middle of the pitch a bit too much, thus end up out of position and not provide required width. Overlapping runs by Bosingwa made things less painful and somewhat effective. I certainly cannot complain about Balalck's work rate and his defensive ability, he's nothing but a class act and deserves his spot in the starting lineup.

With Joe Cole not being able to play, Sinclair on loan, Carlo doesn't have much choice but to experiment. Kalou is probably best choice due to his pace.

Essien seems to be preferred to play in holding role perhaps Zhirkov could be played on the right? Probably not as he is left footed. Does this mean that we could be in for a right wing player as a potential transfer target? Harry Redknap seems to be keen on our Joe, rumors of 20 million dollar bid popping in British papers like spring flowers. If that is the case, I wonder why there is such delay? To see if Joe' rehab is completed successfully?

Question is, who will start on the right side of the diamond against Burnley? No chance it would be Matic, could it be Deco? Most likely it will be Kalou, he must be getting used to this position by now.

Speaking of Matic, I should welcome him aboard, glad that yet another non 30+ year old has joined CFC. Hopefully he will get his first start soon!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

9 minutes of pain

We should have been leading after first minute, but somehow Drogs managed to miss the net. What a start this would have been for Carlo and Drogs! Surely it was some "rust", which must have accumulated around our polished striker during summer holliday.

Hunt, who has been with the Hull City team only for matter of hours, has been given a starting role. He is a feisty player and if this would not have been first game of the season, he might have gotten a red card for a raised foot against Lampard. Every time Hunt touches the ball, chorus of boos echo around the Bridge. Understandable, it was Hunt's knee that knocked out Petr Cech few seasons ago.

Chelsea looks pretty dangerous on the counters, but team seems a bit flat and lacking width. Carlo likes his diamonds, but this formation is yet to ingrain in the minds of Chelsea players. Too many passes go awry, Anelka showing a bit of the same rust that is affecting Drogba. His positioning seems a bit off.

During one of the Hull City's attacks, ball bounces in the Chelsea box and eventually comes to Hunt who does not make a mistake and scores. What a start for him and what a pain for any Chelsea fan to see him score!

Hull has been defending pretty well whole game by putting every man behind the ball. We had so much trouble with breaking teams that used same tactic last season which ultimately cost us EPL title and Scholari his job.

Mikel wins us a free kick close to the box, Lamps and Drogs standing beside the ball as possible kick takers. Whistle, Drogs runs up and places the ball perfectly, game is tied! Hull led for whole 9 minutes. It certainly was 9 minutes of pain.

Ballack comes on for Mikel during the intermission. This should provide us with more of an attacking impetus, but then again, Essien surely will take over Mikel's spot, thus hang back.

Anelka should have scored in the first minute of the second half! Dejavu all over again, few more chances right after that, no goal, must be the rust....

Holly cow, is that Carvalho bombing down the filed along side Anelka? He looks 20 years old. This shows how much we've missed him last season, glad he's healthy and hungry again.

We continue to press, but goal eludes us, must be that damn rust again. Ball possession in second half is 65% for Chelsea. TV commentators keep on mentioning our inability to break down teams last year. Wonder why they keep on mentioning that, thought pops into my mind that they like to torment Chelsea fans. Another thought is to mute the volume, but then I will not be able to hear the crowd... Here is an idea, ability to mute commentators only, not the sounds from the crown and the game.

Attacks, clearances, missed chances. At one point, ball bounces in the Hull box like a pinball, yet we fail to score. Ancelotti trows in Deco for Malouda. Move provides no change in luck.

Hunt being substituted, while he is walking to the bench, crowd saying good bye to him by chanting "Wanker, wanker", I agree with them.

Kalou comes on for Anelka and should have scored with his first touch but he managed to direct his header over the net. 10 minutes to go in the game, my stomach is in my throat but i am still remaining hopeful that we can get a win.

Perhaps Hull should have scored few minutes before the 90th minute mark. Cech and Hull player both receive lengthy treatments by phisio after ball clearing collision at the top of the box.

Refs adding 6 minutes of added time, good news to Chelsea faithful. Game goes one as it went on, Chelsea pressing, Hull defense creaking but holding on. Deco comes close to scoring but misses the net. Oh the agony! We should be winning by at least 2 goals....

I've made peace with idea of a tie when came a breakthrough. Deco's pass finds Drogba, whom appears to attempt a cross from an acute angle, ball sails over the keeper into the net, what a chip it turned out to be. Bridge is in frenzy, 2 - 1 Chelsea. Drogs salutes his extended contract with 2 goal salvo, well done.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Lightning doesn't strike twice at the same place

I can't wait for this Saturday, EPL season to start. It will be an early wake up call for me, 7:40am. Not a problem, I miss my early Saturday wake ups, to watch games. When you think about it, it can be perfect beginning to the day (especially if we win ;))
In any case, we're going against Hull, whom surprised more than one EPL team last year. Will this happen this year it remains to be seen, as they say, lightning doesn't strike twice at the same place, right? Surely Chelsea will not make same mistake and take their opponent seriously, especially when the news of certain Hunt joining them from Reading. You know that "helmet" that Cech is sporting, it's due to mr. Hunt. I am hoping that he will not play, as retaliation might be at hand.
As a Chelsea fan, I'd expect us to beat Hull at any given day, but i am not expecting 3-0 win as some pundits do. I'll be happy with 3 points period. 3-0 or 1-0, win is a win and that's all that matters.

I am amused to see reports of Liverpool boys chatting up their EPL crown expectations. Sure, they should be building on last year, but can they be as lucky as last year? How many games were rescued by late goals? What will Liverpool do if Gerrard or Torres is injured? No doubt they have great team and great players, but beyond first team, do they have enough coverage to challenge for the EPL crown they so desire?
Benitez is an amazing coach, some would call him footballing genius, but will that be enough to wrestle EPL crown from United? I'd expect Liverpool be less lucky, the lightning doesn't strike at the same place twice...

Whole notion of lighting not striking twice is a bs, really, if you look at United, they have done it 3 times and are looking at fourth consecutive win. Fergie wants it, United fans want it (and probably expect it, those arrogant bastids) and surely United players want it, but do they have enough firepower to get it done? Time will show, time doesn't lie. Post Ronaldo era is upon us. Will Valencia and Owen be enough to replace Ronnies goals. Perhaps, but I'd say no. Everyone knows that Owen is one tackle away from the hospital bed and Valencia cannot compare to Ronnie, he is a different fish. Oh, Tevez isn't there to rescue them either... I wonder if it really was a Fergie whom wanted to sell Tevez who is a real fire starter, a spark plug if you will. Surely he will be missed by United. All this said, United seems to be weaker than last year and if you consider that we have not lost any first team players this year, we should have an advantage.
Since we came close to EPL title quite close past couple of years, as a Chelsea fan I am hoping that lightning doesn't strike twice and we can win it again. Oh yes, same could be said about Champions League... we have been close but haven't taste champagne from the cup yet... YET! :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

United fans showing true color?

Wow, I can't believe all of the vile that comes from Manchester United loyal. Surely not all of them, but it seems that way. One would think that Ovrebo was a ref and they just lost important Champions League game!
Controversy is due to Ballacks "elbow" on Evra whom went down like a sack of potatoes "injured". You see, Fergie and so many others believe that ref should have stopped the game as he did earlier when Evra stepped on Ballack. 2 incidents have been dissected more than once and are not the same.
First incident, Evra retained the ball, second ball came to United player who not only didn't kick it out of bounds but tried to continue attack, it just happened that he lost it and in the end Lampard scored.
After the game, Fergie even confronted ref and later on said it should have been a red card, well I suppose it's lucky for Chelsea that Fergie was not refereeing game himself, surely he'd be best ref to ever step on the pitch.
Word hypocrisy comes to mind. If United would go on and score, would we hear even one word about this so called "elbow"? I don't think so. You see, United lost! We didn't bow in front of their greatness and ref had different point of view than Fergie. The fact is, ref saw challenge in plain view and chose not to call it. If anything Chelsea fans have learned from Ovrebo, is to live with refs decisions, no matter how hard it might be. Perhaps Fergie and United fans should try that instead of being so arrogant and whiny. Some even went on to call Ballack a "Cheating C**t"...
United fans showing their true color?

Monday, August 10, 2009

So far so good for Carlo

It was nice to escape to sunny Cuba for a week as huge amounts of water continue to come down from Havens, here in Ontario. Since my "off grid" plan is yet to come to any sort of fruition, I was worried that we will loose power and I will not be able to watch replay of a Community Shield.
What a cracking game it turned out to be! We had a bit of everything, bad and good goals, missed and fantastic saves, crunching tackles, controversy and First ref bashing by Fergie.
I was a little surprised to see Ivanovic to start ahead of Bosingwa and was glad to see Carvalho (eventual man of the match) back in a starting lineup.

First half belonged to United. Nani was tormenting Ivanovic who struggled to cope with the pace and trickery of young Portuguese player, eventually picking up well deserved yellow card. Nani opened scoring with a cracking goal and seemed that he is ready to take over Ronaldos spotlight, however his night was prematurely terminated by John Terry's clean tackle. Nani walked off the pitch in a makeshift arm sling. After reading todays papers, he's got a bit of a dislocated shoulder and naturally looking for speedy recovery. Petr Cech probably should have had saved Nani's rocket, but he redeemed himself with number of great saves later on.

Berbatov had flashes of brilliance and came close to scoring on more than one occasion. He seem to have great understanding with Park whom looked dangerous early on.

Chelsea counters produced little to trouble Ben Foster with descent strikes from Drogba and Anelka. In general, many of passes were behind intended recipients and at times we looked a bit one dimensional with mainly wayward long crosses. Essien probably should have done better with his towering header attempt and Malouda's attempted volley from 2-3 meters also should have been a goal. We seemed slower than United and were loosing midfield battles. Lampard was well covered and was unable to influence game. It seemed to me that his positioning was a bit off with number of passes to/from him going to United players instead.

When first half came to an end I was quite happy that we were down by one and was hoping that we could do what we did against Everton, come back from behind and win the game.

Ivanovic was substituted for Bosingwa during half time, logical choice due to yellow card and pace that Bosingwa offers. Not sure what Carlo told his troops, but Chelsea was a different team, we've started to control tempo and had number of descent attacks. During one of such attacks, somehow Lampard retained ball with 3 United players around him but he managed to pass to Malouda who attempted to flick ball to Drogba, whom nearly got nice punch from Ben Fosters weak clearance, which ended up on in the net after diving Carvalho's header. It was a scrappy goal but a goal nonetheless, game was tied. Blue side of Wembley was in frenzy...

Mikel was substituted for Ballack whom seem to continue his spat with Evra. Two exchanged harsh tackles, one which earned Evra yellow card. Then came moment when Ballack blocked off Evra, in plain refs view. Fergie deemed that an elbow later on, in any case, Evra was sprawled on the pitch "injured" while ball came to Rooney who didn't kick ball out of bounds but tried to continue United attack. Few seconds later he lost the ball to the Chelsea player, then ball ended up at Drogba's feet whom cleverly took 2 defenders with him while flicking ball to Frank Lampard. Lamps didn't make a mistake, he shot ball with enough power that it went through Fosters hands into the net. United players were furious and surrounded the ref. It was interesting to watch that Rooney was playing a peacemaker, quite a contrast to Rooney we know. Complaints fell on deaf ears, goal stood. You see, United felt that ref should have blown a whistle, just as he did earlier when one of the United players stepped on Ballack. Evra's "injury" evaporated quite fast when he jumped up to argue with the ref, and reds have audacity to call Ballack a cheat. Just think of elbow on Drogba earlier in the game! He didn't go on moaning to the ref, instead he got up and went on with the game.

Fergie fumed and eventually threw on 4 fresh players. Them move has worked, United started to press and eventually Rooney showed his world class when he tied the game, it was 90th minute. He banged his chest and United badge in front of Chelsea fans triumphant! Game was going to penalties...

Penalties is something that Chelsea fans hate. It was Terry's miss that cost us Champion League in Moscow.. It has been years since we won a shootout.

Lampard was first to shoot. It was clinical finish, Foster had no chance. Lamps grabbed the ball and held it above his head to show it to all United fans.
Ryan Giggs, Mr. United himself, took first spot kick for United. Petr saves with his feet!
Ballack was second to shoot, it was a beauty, as good of a spot kick as you'd ever see.
Carrick for United didn't miss. It was 2-1 for Chelsea at this point.
Drogba for Chelsea. Once again, memories of Moscow come flooding. Drogs got a red card and had no chance to take a spot kick then, will he score now? Answer is yes, yet another clinical finish by Drogs. 3-1 Chelsea!

I am not sure why Evra was chosen to shoot next? When I saw him come up to the spot I was quite happy that Rooney wasn't taking it next. Evra blew it, spot kick lacked power and Cech correctly guessed direction.
Next was Kalou and he didn't make a mistake. 4-1, Chelsea win first trophy of the season, so far so good for Carlo.